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N.a.s.a. + M.m.o.

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Space gamers take note: Following the successful lead of the U.S. Army-sponsored America's Army game, NASA is looking to build its own massively multiplayer game.

The idea is to create a virtual world that mimics the physics, scientific goals, and presumably the realistic mission profiles of the space agency's real-world activity. Which is an entirely admirable goal. But I might add a few words of advice: Add space orcs.

I know it's pandering. There is no such thing as space orcs. But if you have choice between consistently real simulation of NASA environments, which includes long hours of training, a bit of thoroughly exciting shuttle flying, and then maybe an extra bonus level of pleading with Congress for money, well, I'd add the space orcs.

According to the request for proposals, released last week,

A NASA-based MMO built on a game engine that includes powerful physics capabilities could support accurate in-game experimentation and research. It should simulate real NASA engineering and science missions in a medium that is comfortable and familiar to the majority of students in the United States today. A NASA-based MMO could provide opportunities for students to investigate (science and technology) career paths while participating in engaging game-play.

This is serious, potentially very useful stuff. The educational aspect to games is very real, and a NASA-sponsored game could in fact help introduce a generation of kids weaned on Xboxes to a more realistic spacegoing environment.

But kids are drawn to games with excitement. America's Army succeeded so well because it was a good game, by gaming standards, not only because it was a realistic portrayal of small-group combat activity.

The particular tension of shuttle missions, of conducting experiments on the space station, or of planning for a politically controversial moon mission that's 15 years out, may be hard to translate into a massively multiplayer game, outside the school environment. But add space orcs to all of that, well, brother, you're golden.

wired 1

wired 2

A NASA quer fazer um MMO. Parece que terá a ver com experimentação virtual e nada de monstros para chacinar.

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